There are lots of confusing terms out there for newcomers looking for their perfect website host.
With thousands of providers available and technical names used for different types of hosting and determining a fair price for the kind of website hosting you need can be tricky business.
The categories I'll go through go over different types of website hosting, sorted by the average website hosting cost, and give you a few examples of the best host in each category. Here's how much website hosting costs:
- $0/month free hosting – good for basic, small websites
- $1-10/month budget shared hosting – suitable for personal and small business websites
- $10-20/month bespoke shared hosting – awesome for tailored or large business sites
- $100+/month dedicated servers – great for mission-critical functions
1. $0/month – Free Shared Hosting
Recommended for: Hosting for small personal sites, school projects or nonprofits
Yes! It’s true, there really are completely free hosts out there with zero website servers cost. In fact, there are three different types of free hosting plans:
- Free website hosts managed by communities of developers who believe web hosting should be free. They find space on their servers to let you manage a small free website with heavily limited resources. MyFreeSQLHosting is an example; a host that lets you manage a minuscule (5MB) database site.
- Free hosting packages (like Wix‘s) from premium web hosts who offer a heavily limited free package to get you to try their service. Companies such as 000webhost follow a similar model - as its users can purchase premium plans, providing them with much more resources.
- Free hosting plans for special, eligible organizations (I’m mostly talking about nonprofits). If you’re able to prove your charitable credentials, hosts like DreamHost offer completely free packages with fairly generous resources.
- It’s completely free! There is no website hosting cost and no forced upgrades
- You can cancel your plan anytime (in some instances you won’t even need a credit card to sign-up)
- Heavily restricted storage and bandwidth (quantity of visitors is limited)
- No unique domain (often you’ll just get a subdomain like example.webhost.com)
- Security certificates are not included (these are important for business sites)
Best Free Hosting Example: 000webhost
000WebHost ($0.00 Web Host) is an example of the second category of free web host. It’s an offshoot of the well-known (and paid) internet host, Hostinger.
That means you get the reputation of a reliable normal host in a free package.
000WebHost shares Hostinger’s 99.9% uptime guarantee. In other words, your site will rarely ever crash or be unavailable. It’s able to offer such reliable hosting thanks to its CloudLinux server architecture.
Despite it’s price-tag, 000webhost’s $0 plan includes a ton of free software, so you can create and manage your site with software like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla.
The free plan doesn’t include domain registration but it does come with a free subdomain. Of course, you can always add a domain that you have purchased elsewhere.
2. $1-10/month – Budget Shared Hosting
Recommended for: small personal or business sites
Shared hosting means that you rent out a part of the server, that you're sharing together with multiple websites. Because you’ll be sharing the maintenance and electricity costs with other users (perhaps hundreds or thousands), hosts can offer you this kind of hosting for very low fees.
Unlike free hosting, it’s possible to get unlimited storage and bandwidth hosting plans with paid shared hosting. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be downloaded from your site over a month, and it limits the amount of traffic your site can handle.
However, even with “unmetered” bandwidth on shared hosting plans, the resources are always shared.
That means your site won’t have the capacity to load quickly for unlimited viewers at the same time. Determining exactly how much traffic a shared site can really handle is tricky. Every host is different and most aren’t completely transparent about how the resources each site on a server is assigned – but if you expect between 10,000 and 100,000 pageviews per month, a shared hosting plan should be suitable.
- Very affordable
- Works great for small or low traffic websites
- Can be suitable for mid-sized sites
- Often, features like domain registration are included
- Server resources are shared between many users, which affects the bandwidth
Best Cheap Shared Hosting Example: Hostinger
But a low price doesn't mean low quality. As a matter of fact, Hostinger is currently our highest-ranked provider when it comes to performance. The server response times routinely go under 100ms - that's under half a blink!
10 GB of storage and 100 GB of bandwidth are also just about enough for any regular website. But if you wish to upload plenty of data or expect thousands of visitors every week, the unlimited Premium plan is going to handle just that.
And if you're looking to sell online but also would like daily backups to keep your website safe from failures, and an SSL certificate to be able to sell online, the Business plan will cost $3.95 a month - and it's perfect for those kinds of things.
All users will also gain access to Hostinger's brilliant 24/7 live chat and ticket support - a great bonus for both beginners and advanced users.
3. $10-20/month Bespoke Shared Hosting
Recommended for: Medium sized business sites
Bespoke shared hosting is really just more expensive shared hosting, so the fundamental principles are the same – your site will still be put on a big server with a ton of other users.
Yet, there are a number of reasons shared hosts charge enough for their services to put them in this price range.
In the case of A2 Hosting, for example, it offers a premium ‘Turbo’ plan which upgrades the speed of your site and the amount of traffic it can handle (depending on your site size, potentially up to 200,000 monthly page views). It does that by assigning your site more resources and using bespoke software to compress your site and cache it in more locations.
But, for example, in the case of other premium shared hosts like Wix, you’re paying for software other hosts don’t offer. You’ll get the same kind of resources that others provide at budget prices, but you’ll also be able to use premium site-building software and templates.
- Still affordable but with extra features and resources
- Some premium hosts suitable for large (100,000+ monthly) traffic volumes
- SSL certificates normally are included
- Domain registration is often thrown-in
- Server resources still shared between many users
Best Advanced Shared Hosting Example: Wix
The famous Wix drag-and-drop website builder comes with hundreds of templates designed for every kind of site that you can imagine.
And while Wix does offer free hosting, I’ve placed it in the category of premium shared web host too because you have to pay much more than most shared hosts for the same basic resources.
If you want to share your beautiful Wix site with a reasonably large audience, it’ll cost you!
Wix’s combo package (which is the lowest-tier offer without ads) costs $11/month and includes 2GB storage and 3GB bandwidth. It also comes with a FREE domain for a year!
4. $100+/month: Dedicated Hosting
Recommended for: Large business sites and mission-critical applications
Web hosting wisdom goes something like this: If you want to host a large website or a server your business needs to make constant use of, you should go for dedicated hosting.
Picking dedicated server hosting means you will be assigned your very own physical machine in the hosting companies data-center. That’s excellent for performance and reliability, as you know that nobody else will be competing with you for the same CPU power.
Just remember that with great power comes great...price.
If you’re not sure whether you need the oomph of a dedicated hosting plan, why not start small and upgrade? The majority of hosts I’ve recommended in this article offer both shared and dedicated plans, and if you find yourself bumping up against the limits of a shared plan, they’ll be happy to help you upgrade.
And if you're feeling too big for a shared server, and not yet ready for a dedicated one, you can opt for a middle option.
They are known as VPS servers - in them, the partition is not physical, but done with software. That allows for smaller virtual machines for a slightly lower price.
- Extremely powerful
- Great for running important proprietary business software
- Super fast and reliable
- You’re normally given root access (control the whole server architecture)
- Quite expensive compared to other options
Best Dedicated Hosting Example: SiteGround
Its cheapest, entry-level server costs $269.99/month and is based on a powerful Intel X3 architecture. You’ll get 16GB of RAM, 480GB of SSD storage and 10TB of bandwidth.
That’s a hefty price tag but, equally, a jaw-dropping amount of power (depending on your site size, 16GB of RAM should be handle around 750k monthly page views).
And SiteGround won’t leave you hanging if you’re not sure how to take full advantage of your shiny new server – it offers a fantastic customer support service.
Staff are available 24/7 through phone and live chat. They also overstaff on every support shift, allowing SiteGround implement a no-wait-time policy on their phone line.
How Much Does It Cost To Host a Website?
For most basic users, neither VPS nor dedicated servers will be a good option. They're simply way too big and advanced - in most cases, the limits of what they can do won't be reached.
So really, the decision of where to host boils down to three main options - free hosting, regular hosting, and premium shared hosting. And here's how the pricing for each the options would look like:
- Using free hosting, you can get a website for free. The platforms include multiple ways to build a website without paying. Sadly, however, getting a free domain for your page is going to be tricky - but most hosting providers will include a free subdomain.
- With regular hosting, your website will cost you a few dollars a month. You'll need to pay that for hosting - plus around $10 a year for a premium domain with your name on it.
- Premium shared hosting will cost you up to $20 a year. For that price, you will not only get hosting, but also premium tools, making building and hosting a website an enjoyable experience.
And there you have it - these are the prices of hosting. Do you think I missed out an important category or got the pricing wrong? Comment below and let me know!